Beauty spot ‘under siege’, county councillor fears

Graphic Artist's Impression of proposed single turbine at Yetlington by Anthony Meikle.
Graphic Artist's Impression of proposed single turbine at Yetlington by Anthony Meikle.

A picturesque area of north Northumberland is being bombarded by bids for wind turbines.

That is the view of Coun Steven Bridgett, who believes his Coquetdale and Whittingham Vale ward is ‘under siege’ from those wanting to build turbines.

A swathe of applications are at different stages of the planning process.

And while Coun Bridgett said he is not against renewable energy, he is critical of what he describes as ‘inefficient forms of renewable energy, such as wind’.

“You cannot store wind in the same way you can water for a hydro scheme or wood for a biomass plant. You are very much dependent on when the wind blows so at best these turbines are 25 per cent efficient and have to be switched off when the wind reaches a certain speed. These turbines are not the future of our energy needs.”

Work is ongoing by developer Infinis at its Wingates site for six turbines, each up to 110metres in height, after being granted permission in 2011. It is due to be operational in the spring.

But there could be more to come in the Coquetdale and Whittingham Vale area.

A plan for a 78metre-to-blade-tip turbine has been submitted by Ogden Renewable Energy for land associated with Follions Farm, near Lorbottle.

A bid is also being lined up by renewable energy company RES and telecommunications giant BT for up to five turbines on land approximately 5km south of Wingates and 2km north of Netherwitton. A scoping request indicates that the turbines would be up to 127metres-to-tip height.

Meanwhile, nine turbines are being earmarked for near Elsdon while an application for up to 25 turbines is proposed for Harwood Forest, near Simonside. The application is to be determined by the Secretary of State given its scale and size.

Other schemes, such as a meteorological mast near to Sharperton, have been turned down.